British Steel To Invest £1.25bn In Processing Scrap Steel
Steel Scrap Processing. Aluminum Shavings After Processing Metal

British steel has announced plans to invest £1.25bn in electric arc furnaces that process scrap steel, if the UK Government will back up the move with further policies to support decarbonisation. 

Materials Recycling World reports that British Steel intends to decommission its blast furnaces and install electric arc furnaces at its Scunthorpe headquarters in Teesside. 

The older blast furnaces are responsible for almost all of the company’s Co2 emissions, and are making it impossible for them to meet net zero targets, according to chief executive Xijun Cao.  He said: “Detailed studies show electrification could rapidly accelerate our journey to net zero and drive British Steel towards a sustainable future”.

He added: “It would also ensure we can provide our customers with the steel they require. Our owners, Jingye, have already invested £330m in British Steel in just three years and they’re committed to the unprecedented investment our proposals require.”

However, he compared the UK government’s progress on adopting carbon neutral policies unfavourably with contemporaries abroad, and said that more needs to be done before British Steel commits to the new investment. 

He said: “We need the UK to adopt the correct policies and frameworks now to back our decarbonisation drive.”

“Governments in the countries where our major competitors operate have adopted such policies and the longer we wait for their implementation in the UK, the more impact and challenge this will have on our competitiveness and the country’s ability to meet its carbon objectives.”

In September, the Minister for Industry and Economic Security, Nusrat Ghani, announced that the government has agreed a deal with the rival company Tata Steel to install a state of the art blast furnace at its plant in Port Talbot, south Wales. £500m funding will be provided in a joint investment package as part of a wider £1.25bn decarbonisation scheme.  

However, according to the British Metals Recycling Association, this will still not be enough to meet demand and the UK will still continue to export scrap metal for processing.

Rachel Eade MBE, Chair of the UK Metals Council, said: “We touch metals every day, whether that is in our homes, in the cars, planes and trains we travel in, the medical devices we rely on, as well as tools and machinery used for their production.” 

She added: “Importantly, it is now recognised that metals can be infinitely and readily recycled into new parts, something that cannot be said for many other materials in modern life – we need to value metals more as we move to a Net Zero economy.”

“Foundation industries will continue to play a critical role in the way we all live, and this vital sector needs a voice to ensure that the Government understands the journey we are on.”

The Port Talbot electric arc furnace is projected to reduce the UK’s entire business and industry carbon emissions by 7%, and Wales’s overall emissions by 22%. 

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